Happy Animals, Happy Kids

Posted by 6 years ago | Permalink | Comments (3)

© iStockPhoto.com / yuriz

Earlier this week I saw some video footage which broke my heart. Having volunteered for animals for years now, I’m becoming hardened to the things I see, but this was upsetting in so many ways.

It was a YouTube video which someone had recorded at a British circus during the 2010 season. All the footage was from the ring, what the circus were proud for you to see. It was distressing. I won’t link to it here, but there are plenty of videos on YouTube that show similar shocking scenes.

The video depicted animals being degraded and humiliated to the awkward laughs of a half-empty big top. I saw horses forced to walk on their hind legs and run so fast around the tight circle of the ring that I worried they would injure their ankles. I saw miniature ponies being forced to run through slaloms and over bridges obviously too steep for their legs.

It brought back memories of being an animal-loving child and going to see the circus, believing in my childhood naivety that the animals loved performing for me. I never imagined that there were bullhooks, whips or electric prods.

And I considered the little I had learnt from zoos and aquariums too. Could I really have learnt this no other way? All I remember from visiting the zoo is seeing a frightened mummy chimpanzee clutching her young because the flash from someone’s camera scared her. There are no educational benefits to zoos.

Thankfully, children’s entertainment has come so far that there is no need to exploit our animal friends. Please, when you take your children, cousins, nephews, nieces or grandkids out this summer, think of an animal-friendly circus or attraction. There are plenty to choose from.



  • KT commented on July 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I remember being forced to go to zoos and aquariums as a kid, my dad wouldn’t listen to me when I said I thought they were cruel because back then I didn’t have the knowledge to back up my arguments.

  • Valerie commented on July 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Yes, me too. I remember saying to my mother that I was sure the animals weren’t happy about it and I feared for their welfare. I was told that they were ‘trained’ to do it and loved it. Ummm.

    I’m 61 now, have been dotty about animals all my life and to this day rescue anything that I see. My animals are loved, respected and cared for and treated as part of our family. They give unconditional love, which is more than I can say for most humans I have had contact with during my life.

    I wrote to HM the Queen last year about using bear skins for her guardsmen. I found it so appalling that ithis barbaric torture of bears should be continuing in this day and age. The reply I received said something on the lines of “We haven’t found a replacement yet” – Well big deal – that doesn’t really help the poor bears and their cubs does it. They suffer excrutiating pain and their little ones are left to die. I think its time we moved on and there comes a time when all traditions must be altered in some way to fit in with a ‘cruelty free’ lifestyle. Aren’t we supposed to be civilized human beings? – That’s a laugh. The world is in a terrible state but surely the United Kingdom can do its part in changing what is obviously a very outdated and very obscene tradition. I don’t think the guardsmen would mind at all if their ‘faux fur’ went a bit limp in the rain – after all they are used to fighting wars – not being in a fashion parade! Pomp and ceremony is all very well but not at the expense of a poor animals life.

    I think David Cameron and Nick Clegg should be approached, after all they seem to have what it takes to get things done, unlike Gordon Brown who didn’t seem to have a dam clue. Doing things in order to achieve prestige and acclaim isn’t what we want in leaders, we want people who will stand up and be counted.

    Why does animal welfare always come way down the line in the list of ‘things to do?’ We don’t ask for a huge amount of money to be used – we merely need laws to be passed in order to protect the vulnerable – be it animal or human. It seems so simple to me – and yet year after year these terrible things happen.

    Surely if animals were more cared for and protected it would in some way promote a more loving and caring population. Children seem to be brought up these days to do whatever they wish – no discipline, no respect for elders and decidedly not a lot of respect for animals either. We have to stop this in its tracks – I truly fear for the next generation if this one is anything to go by.

    I’ll get down off my soap box now but I’m not a happy bunny at all.


  • SMG commented on July 24, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    “I think David Cameron and Nick Clegg should be approached…” That’s a joke, David Cameron is pro fox hunting and Nick Clegg seems to have completely forgotten his own ideals. This government cares little about the animals, Valerie, the only way we can change anything is by improving public awareness.

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